This recipe is inspired by Danny Bowien's recipe for Mapo Tofu, but made my own by simplifying it, adding crab, water chestnuts, and a hit of lemon at the end. Danny's version includes sauces that he makes himself, I purchased mine at the Asian Market, once purchased these items become pantry staples and this dish comes together quickly and easily. Chili crab is another popular Szechuan dish so I guess this would be a mix of the two. —Alexandra V. Jones
chili black bean sauce
garlic black bean sauce
porcini mushroom powder, I found mine at an upscale grocer, you can order it online if you can't source it locally
crab, tofu, and vegetables
block medium tofu, diced into large pieces
lump crab meat, picked of shells
green onions, sliced thin, green tops reserved for garnish
diced water chestnuts
Thai chilies, sliced thin.
plus a drizzle or two more of Chili oil
Blanch tofu in salted water for 4 minutes, drain set aside.
Mix sauce ingredients together with two tablespoons of water, mix the remainder of the water and cornstarch together separately and set aside, this will be for your slurry at the end.
Using a wok or large pan, heat chili oil over high heat, add the white parts of green onions, and Thai chilis, making sure not to inhale while doing so, as it can spice your face off, so proceed with caution. Cook for a minute or two, add water chestnuts.
Add sauce mixture and tofu, reduce heat to medium,making sure the tofu is well coated. Add crab.
Pour slurry of cornstarch and water to pan and let it bubble and thicken for two minutes.
Top with a squeeze or two of lemon, green onions, and a bit more chili oil. Serve hot with rice.